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Rene Gauthier interview, son of Suncor Energy's worker 64-year-old Michael Gauthier, who died of heat exhaustion on a faulty swing stage in a boiler Clearwater Welding and Fabricating Ltd which was run by TransAlta. Fort McMurray, Alberta. "My Father was not supposed to be in their de-slagging because the conditions were to hot to work in. Tried to come up from swing stage but the two motors weren't working. The eventually passed out from the heat, when they came to, fellow workers attached a jug of water to a rope, Gauthier and a trapped fellow worker tries exhaustively to bring the jug up to the swing stage. At this point Gauthier fell unconscious and fell of the swing stage but was captured by his harness. Suncor was supposed to have an emergency plan in place to get anyone out of the boiler within 15 min but Rene's dad hung there for 40 minutes before anyone came to help. When the emergency crew came to help they wouldn't even go in. 5 minutes in a harness can be fatal in those type of temperatures. They eventually got him down but he succumb to his injuries in an Edmonton hospital 4 days later.
Rene Gauthier expresses his anger at Suncor and their lack of safety initiative when things came down to the wire.
Rene Gauthier pays tribute to his father and owes him something for standing up for the working man his whole life. Two weeks before his death he was to retire.
He was looking forward to spending time with his grandchildren who were born while he was in Alberta, so he was looking forward to riding his bike with them. And Rene feels it is business as usual for Suncor and no one really cares. I wouldn't want anyone to go through what we went through. It has effected a lot of people. My dad had a lot of friends and family. I'm really upset with what happened. This could have been prevented with proper procedures and practicing. Some companies pride themselves on how they conduct their safety procedures. Suncor have a system where if you report an injury there will be retaliation on your fellow workers even if you weren't near the area where it happened. That's why their safety record looks so good. A lot of these companies have their own plant doctors, if you get injured, you go and see the plant doctor and not your own doctor. The plant doctor will say your good to go! While your family doctor will say rest and let yourself heal. There are examples of people who are injured, arm in cast, on crutches, but you still work. "You are on light detail" 40 hours a week, so the company doesn't lose anything.
It's all about money, profits and keeping the claims down.
I haven't received a report from the OH&S Occupational Health and Safety yet, that comes after the investigation is completed. I am assuming there will be someone found guilty of some wrong doing and if there is not I won't be surprised, it will be another white wash with a big company taking care of business the way they do and the little guy is just shoved under the rug once again. Someone should go to jail, if you kill someone you go to jail. What's the use in giving a fine to Suncor. Someone knew the system was working problem."
"One of the paramedics couldn't even make up four flights of stairs, she was not physically fit enough, she had to take a break in between. Paramedics should be top athletes and be tested and be up and down stairs all day long. The paramedics showed up and didn't know what to do, they didn't even have the proper certification to be what they were called."
Still photographs of Rene Gauthier's father. Rene and mother looking through family photographs of happier times. Close up of hands on photographs.
Interview with Jeff McColl, co-worker who was in the boiler with 64-year-old Michael Gauthier when he was overcome by heat exhaustion and died 4 days later in an Edmonton hospital. McColl explains what happened leading up to the industrial accident at Fort McMurray's Clearwater Welding and Fabricating. Talks about the conditions inside the boiler and was screaming to get water sprayed on them because it was so so hot.
McColl talks about the horrible conditions inside the 5 storey structure. Jeff eventually lost consciousness and came to in the hospital. Director/Cameraman Gary Moore
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